On May 21st, the “International Day without Papers,” migrants, activists and supporters met in Warsaw to protest against the European border policy, and in particular its military wing, the so-called security agency FRONTEX, based in the Polish capital, during its 10th anniversary celebrations.
The demonstration was part of the Anti Frontex Days where activists met already days before for an exchange, to prepare actions and information material for a strong demonstration to protest, but also to raise political awareness. 200 people carried out a strong and colorful protest starting from the Technical University “Politechnika”, passing a police station, the representative office of the EU as to finally handover a birthday present to FRONTEX in front of their headquarter. With banners, leaflets, performances and multilingual speeches the demonstration was able to reach a lot of public interest about EU migration policy and its deadly effects.
10 years of FRONTEX, that is:
- the existence of a military, not democratically legitimized border patrol that cooperates with EU member states in human rights violations, such as push-back actions, and a militarization of police and security policies in order to build up a deterrent “Fortress Europe”
- the turn of the Mediterranean sea into the deadliest border for migrants in the world: 22.000 deaths within the last 15 years
- growing costs of enforcing border control; 30% increase in 2015 to 114 million euro, financed by public money
- a continuation of the European colonial politics through externalization of borders
- daily violations of dignity in the detention centres in the EU (600.000 detainees each year, including children)
- criminalizing life-saving interventions of sea guards and private initiatives who help migrants in distress
The struggle for the most basic rights of migrants is gaining momentum in Europe. Thousands of people support the demands for respecting the right of all persons, regardless of their citizenship and ethnicity. Despite of that, EU politicians have recently declared a new military operation against human trafficking, in an attempt to hide the complicity of their own oppressive migration policy and the closed borders in the profits of smugglers. The Anti Frontex Days in Warsaw have been the occasion to raise awareness about migrant´s struggles in different countries in context of the on-going racist anti-migrant protests of nationalists. For that reason, the days posed a political gesture of solidarity with people who do not get a chance of life in security and dignity, stuck without an opportunity to regularize their legal status, who are confronted with fear of deportation, bureaucratic obstacles, police repression, and daily racism in their respective immigration societies.
The Warsaw event was one of many solidarity events (among others, similar actions were in Rome, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, and Morocco) that took place the same days and showed with their powerful interventions in public discourse the vivid bond of the transnational refugee´s movement. Together we say no to criminalizing people migrating to defend their dignity and their lives! We demand: Freedom of movement and right to stay for all! Push back FRONTEX!